Warren tops Golden Eagles

BELPRE – Evan French pumped in a game-high 33 points, but visiting Warren – despite having as much as an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter – had to stave off concerted Belpre comeback efforts in the final three minutes of play to post a 81-70 win over the Golden Eagles Saturday night.

French, who had accumulated 22 points by halftime, ended up with seven treys among his 11 baskets and four free throws as the Warriors improved to 8-1 on the season. Michael Hall added 16 points and Reece Patton 13 for Warren.

Nick Therriault paced Belpre, now 4-6, with 25 points, coming on nine hoops with one 3-ball thrown in along with a half-dozen foul shots for his total. Also, Dakota Hoffman notched 18 points, Bryce Pittenger 13 and Austin Forshey nine on three treys for the Golden Eagles.

Warren used a 17-6 first-quarter surge to burst out from a 5-5 tie to propel itself into a 22-11 advantage after the initial eight minutes of action, sparked by 11 points by French.

The second stanza saw Belpre, keyed by Hoffman, pull within three, 27-24, the 3:41 mark on a Forshey trey. Hoffman with six straight points and then a feed to Therriault on a break were the first eight points in the 11-2 Belpre run.

A Forshey trey from the corner got the hosts within four, 36-32, as late as the last minute of the half. But French tallied the final five points, capped by a trey with 5.4 seconds left, until the halftime horn to lift Warren into a 41-32 lead at intermission.

Warren built up a 15-point lead, 51-36, by 5:30 of the third quarter, then extended it to 18 at 60-42 on a Dylan Leffingwell put-back of a missed free throw at the 1:40 mark and was up 62-47 heading to the fourth quarter.

And Belpre was still down 76-58 with just 3:34 to play before a 10-0 run – with Pittenger getting the first five points, then Hoffman the next three and finally Therriault rebounding in a missed free throw – cut the gap to a mere eight, 76-68, with only 1:03 remaining.

But Warren produced five points at the foul line to a Belpre basket in the last minute to salt away with the win.